International literary festival comes to town

THE FOCUS of the upcoming 6th Philippine International Literary Festival will be on the regions and finding one’s place through writing.

The event, which is referred to as the “landmark project of the National Book Development Board (NBDB),” puts the spotlight on the Philippine Book Development Month: November. It will gather five international literature personalities and many Filipino writers, illustrators, and publishers from regions in Davao City on November 20-21.

During the November edition of Art Talk held at Park Inn by Radisson Davao last Tuesday, Camille Martinez, executive assistant to the chair of NBDB, said that this is their way of celebrating literature and promoting best publishing practices through “discourse on the issues of authorship and readership shaping the local book industry.”

Rhia Aladin, NBDB acting director, added that through the event, they can have big publishers to look into the literary community in Davao, and explore ways how to works of writers out there without relying on big companies to publish these.


ART TALK community. Artists and journalists meet every first Tuesday of the month to update each other on art happenings around town. Photo by Jesse P. Boga

Since 2010, the festival has been a major gathering for authors, illustrators, publishers, and literature lovers in and out of the country.

The title of the festival this year is Lalang (likha): Writing in Place. Creating Your Place.

The event hopes to be able to explore ideas on the relevance of place in the creation and appreciation of literature, the reflection of literature in geography, and its influence on people and place.


NATIONAL Book Development Board (NBDB) executive assistant Camille Martinez, NBDB acting director Rhia Aladin, regional coordinator assistant Julian dela Cerna, visual artist Eric Peter, and artist Angeli Chi. Photo by Pam Chua

For the first time, the festival will be held outside Manila with hopes to break through the common conception that the center of all arts and literature is in the capital.

The festival will also highlight the homecoming of acclaimed Filipino writers like Mia Alvar. There will also be plenary sessions and intimate conversations on the theme with guest authors and international literature personalities like Noel King, Ondrej Neff, Okky Madasari, and Tina Narang, as well as talks on Philippine literature challenges.


NATIONAL Book Development Board (NBDB) executive assistant Camille Martinez, NBDB acting director Rhia Aladin. Photo by Jesse P. Boga

Fans of Manix Abrera, author of Kikomachine Komix, have already expressed excitement for his panel discussion on graphic novels and comics on November 21. Young Mindanawon writers like Nassefh Macla, Diandra Macarambon, Kristine Ong, and Rolly Jude Ortega will also be speaking. There will also be discussions on folk literatures in Mindanao by Macario Tiu, Genevieve Jorolan, and Roger Garcia. Panel discussions on various topics will also be held throughout: writing regional tongues, writing romance, publishing across regions, digital platforms (like Wattpad), fiction, humor, poetry, copyright, and community-based publishing. Mindanews journalist Carolyn Arguillas will also be speaking in a discussion on publishing in the regions. The venues will be announced online.


ERIC Peter, Marilyn Roque, Nico Alconaba, and Nomi Monfort. Photo by Pam Chua

The event will launch in Abreeza Mall on November 20; venues of the plenary discussions and workshops will be announced in the Facebook Page Laláng: 6th Philippine International Literary Festival. Registration per day for the general public events is P100 for students and teachers; P300 for other professionals. This fee will include a festival kit. For pre-registration and other details, email litfest [at]